Breaking Down the Delegate Dance, Part II

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Republicans squawk about delegate counts, but few people seem to understand the math.

Ahead of Missouri's weekend caucuses, Mitt Romney has received 495 delegates, while Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul each sit with 252, 131 and 48, respectively, according to The Associated Press.

With Wyoming, Kansas, Hawaii, Alabama and Mississippi contests having concluded in the last week, 1,358 delegates remain up for grabs from 24 states, a U.S. territory and the District of Columbia.

Four more contests loom in the next week with 190 more delegates available. Here's a breakdown of what to expect in the near-term. Rules are according to

Missouri, March 15 - 24

Missouri has 52 delegates at stake as the state breaks up its delegate allocation into a three-step process.

First, From March 15 through March 24, Missouri holds county caucuses to select delegates who will attend the congressional district conventions and the state convention. The Missouri Republican Party determines the number of delegates per county caucus. Counties don't have to consider the results of Missouri's February "beauty contest" primary , and there is no formal system for selected delegates' presidential preference. This means that each county determines its own rules as to whether or not a person who runs for delegate must publicly disclose his or her choice for the nomination.

Second, congressional district conventions take place on April 21 in order to select 24 of the state's 52 national delegates from the pool of delegate candidates chosen at the county caucuses. There are eight congressional districts, and each district elects three national delegates. Before the district convention begins, each candidate who wants to be selected for the national convention discloses his or her presidential preference. Convention participants then vote for the individual delegate candidates. Once elected to the national convention, Missouri's district delegates may switch allegiance.

Finally, the state convention takes place on June 2 to select 25 of the state's 52 delegates. Like the district conventions, delegate candidates (all selected at the county caucuses) must disclose presidential preference. At this stage, however, candidates organize into "slates" or groups. State convention participants vote on the slate instead of individuals. The slate with the most votes goes to the national convention.

The final three delegates in Missouri are party leaders who go to the national convention unpledged.

Puerto Rico, March 18

Puerto Rico has 23 delegates up for grabs on Sunday as the state's contest is a winner-take-all primary, with a caveat.

If a Republican candidate receives 50% or more of the vote, he will receive 20 bound delegates.

The caveat is that if none of the candidates receives at least 50% of the vote, Puerto Rico proportionally allocates 20 delegates.

The final three delegates are party leaders in Puerto Rico who attend the national convention as unpledged.

Illinois, March 20

Illinois has 69 delegates available as the state will host a "loophole" primary that is an unusual two-step process.

Illinois holds a popular vote primary on Tuesday as voters will indicate on ballots their preferred candidate. What's unusual is that each congressional district -- there are 18 in the state -- distributes a ballot with a list of district delegates to be directly elected by the voters. Each district delegate will be individually listed on those congressional district ballots with the candidates' presidential preference indicated. The popular vote primary has no bearing on the directly elected district delegates in each of the congressional districts. There are 54 total delegates up for grabs in this process, and all of them go to the national convention.

The next step of Illinois' election takes place from June 8 to June 9, when the state GOP holds a convention to choose 12 unbound delegates for the national convention.

The final three delegates are party leaders in Illinois who attend the national convention unbound.

Louisiana, March 24

Louisiana has 46 delegates at stake as the state participates in a three-step primary.

First, Louisiana holds a primary on March 24 to allocate 20 national delegates. Delegates are proportionally awarded to any Republican candidate who receives 25% or more of the statewide popular vote. In the event that nobody receives 25%, then the state officially deems all 20 delegates "unpledged." Those delegates would then be selected at the state convention.

The state convention convenes on June 2 to appoint 18 more national delegates. The Louisiana convention elects three delegates from each of the state's six congressional districts for the national convention.

Finally, the executive committee in Louisiana nominates five more national delegates at the state convention. All five are listed as uncommitted.

The last three delegates in Louisiana are party leaders who remain unpledged.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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